Starship modules represent, in a broad sense, any addition to a starship hull that increases starship functionality, while using up space and increasing overall cost. However, the more common usage of "module" is to represent those components which do not directly increase attack, defense, or speed, while adding functionality in other areas.
Modules come in seven varieties:
- Sensors add to a ship's sensor range.
- Life support adds to the distance away from a player's colonies or starbases his/her ships can travel (the ship's range).
- Colony modules allow for the colonization of unoccupied worlds. Colony modules can also be used to move population between player controlled planets by moving a full colony ship into the planet's stardock. Ships with this module are expended upon successful colony establishment.
- Trade modules allow one to set up trade routes to other empire's planets, assuming that the number of current routes does not exceed the civilization's limit.
- Transport modules give the starship the planetary invasion ability, allowing for the initiation of ground combat when moved over an enemy planet. In order to have more than one transport invade at a time, the transports must be in the same fleet. Like colony modules, ships with transport modules are expended upon invasion, successful or not.
- Construction modules allow ships to construct and/or upgrade Starbases. A new Starbase can be built via the "Construct" button in the selected ship panel, and upgraded by moving them onto an existing friendly starbase. Ships with these modules are expended upon building or upgrading a Starbase, but not until you set the type of base or module to install.
- Advanced modules improve the ship's attack, defense, or speed in different ways than weapons, defenses, or engines.